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The State of the Mental Health Crisis Among LGBTQ Youth

Content warning: this article includes mention of depression, suicide, and body dysmorphia. 

Insomnia, depression, anxiety, and body dissatisfaction. These are just some of the symptoms of the mental health crisis that LGBTQ+youth are facing today. While researchers have seen increased levels of mental health issues among both youth and adults since 2020, LGBTQ youth are “placed at higher risk [of suicidality] because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society,” according to The Trevor Project.

A 2022 survey conducted by The Trevor Project across the United States examined the mental wellness and symptoms of mental illness of LGBTQ youth in all fifty states. The study examined symptoms of anxiety and depression, suicidality, access to mental health care, and factors that could help or hinder an individual’s mental health, such as the political climate of their state and if they live in supportive or discriminatory communities.

In Georgia, it was found that 72 percent of LGBTQ youth experienced symptoms of anxiety, 59 percent experienced symptoms of depression, and 46 percent considered suicide within the past year. Additionally, 14 percent of those surveyed attempted suicide within the past year.

When those who were surveyed were asked about access to mental health care, only 36 percent said that they sought and received treatment, while 64 percent reported that while they wanted to receive treatment or support of some sort, they were unable to access it. Barriers included the unaffordable nature of mental health care, a fear of disclosing their struggles to a trusted adult, and the requirement of a parent or guardian’s permission for those under 18.

A separate report by the Trevor Project (also released in 2022) found that anywhere between 82 and 93 percent of surveyed LGBTQ+ youth experience dissatisfaction with their bodies. This can lead to disordered eating habits and eating disorders, which studies have found LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to develop. In the report, the authors from The Trevor Project noted that “LGBTQ young people often report higher rates of unhealthy weight control and eating behaviors, eating disorders and body dissatisfaction compared to their straight, cisgender peers.”

But why are LGBTQ youth so much more susceptible to struggles such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even suicidality? According to The Trevor Project’s 2022 survey on LGBTQ mental health, experiences such as discrimination, rejection by their families, and living in states with anti-LGBTQ legislation can all negatively impact a young person’s mental health. A section from the report reads that young LGBTQ people who “have experienced anti-LGBTQ victimization — including being physically threatened or harmed, discriminated against, or subjected to conversion therapy — report significantly higher rates of attempting suicide.”

In a state like Georgia, with various bills that restrict the level of gender-affirming care that transgender youth can receive, there is particular concern for how this legislation will impact the mental health of young LGBTQ+ individuals in the state.

“The Georgia General Assembly should not be inserting itself into critical decisions best left to parents and doctors by imposing a blanket ban on best-practice medical care,” Troy Stevenson, the Director of State Advocacy Campaigns at the Trevor Project, said in a press release following the passage of SB 140 in Georgia. “We urge the Georgia Senate to reject this dangerous bill and to protect access to this essential health care that has been life saving for so many.”

Research has shown that some of the best ways to support LGBTQ youth and prevent them from developing serious mental health issues include accessibility to counselors, supporting friend groups and family members, and having spaces that affirm their identities.

If you or someone you know needs support, The Trevor Project offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at, or by texting START to 678678.